India Blocks China’s Investment Facilitation Proposal in WTO, Faces Exclusion from Outcome Document

In a decisive move, India, along with South Africa, has blocked the China-led Investment Facilitation Development Agreement (IFD) in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The proposal, aimed at development through investment facilitation, is now unlikely to be mentioned in the final outcome document of the ministerial conference.

The 123-member group, spearheaded by China, sought to advance the IFD proposal during a working group meeting on development. However, India and South Africa united to oppose the agreement, labeling it a non-trade issue within the WTO framework.

Official sources revealed that India sees the IFD as an agreement among Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries and perceives it as being driven by vested interests. Such agreements fall under Annexure 4 of the WTO, dealing specifically with plurilateral agreements.

The Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Initiative, initially launched in 2017 by a coalition of developing and least-developed WTO members, aims to establish a global agreement on IFD. This agreement would enhance the investment and business climate, making it easier for investors to operate across various sectors of the economy.

India’s stance on the IFD reflects its belief that the WTO should exclusively address issues related to trade. The country contends that the IFD is a non-trade issue and, consequently, should not be incorporated into the WTO’s final outcome document.

As the diplomatic and trade dynamics unfold, the ramifications of this blockage may influence the trajectory of future discussions within the WTO and impact the collaborative efforts of member nations.

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